There are reports coming out of Minneapolis that Kurt Rambis is getting strong consideration as the possible new head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I’m an LA Clipper now, but given that I’ve known Kurt Rambis for over 9 years and given that I played for the Timberwolves, I can say that Rambis would be an unbelievable fit in Minnesota. Obviously there are other candidates as well, including Mark Jackson who would be a phenomenal selection too.
Rambis bring with him the coaching pedigree which includes playing for Pat Riley and coaching alongside Phil Jackson. I think that he would be able to meld the Pat Riley “culture” of strict discipline and crisp execution with the “read and react” philosophy of Phil Jackson who drills the Triangle every day in practice and then let’s the players govern themselves in some degree once the game starts.
The other intangible that Rambis would bring to the table is a scrappy style of play that would reflect his own playing days. I remember Kurt told me that one year when he was playing for the Lakers, some so-called experts were saying that the Lakers “could not win a championship with Kurt Rambis at the power forward.” He ended up proving them wrong and even scored close to 20 points in one of the championship games under the pressure of such a large stage. He has a great knowledge of playing the post position and would be that much more attuned to giving feedback to key players like Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.
I do think that Kurt would coach an up-tempo and hard-nosed style of play which would be well appreciated by the Minnesota Fans. I saw reports months ago that Rambis turned down the Sacramento King head coaching job due to a variety of factors. Kurt Rambis is a complete family man, and a man whose knowledge of the game is huge. If David Kahn names Kurt Rambis as the head coach, I think both the players and the fans are going to like the decision.
I wanted to take a minute to tell the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Even though the past couple of years had been tough from a wins and losses perspective, when I will think of my time in Minneapolis, I will always think about that 2004 team that almost made it to the NBA Finals. At that time, Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire league, Sam Cassell was an All-Star and Latrell Sprewell was one of our emotional leaders. I remember during the playoff run that year how driving to and from games was absolutely crazy with part of downtown shut down so that cars could get through. This was all possible because of you, the fans and your amazing support.
From a different standpoint, Minneapolis has come to feel like an absolute second home for me personally. Having grown up in Northern California, I never really knew much about Minnesota until Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor signed me to play for the Timberwolves. Needless to say, the past several years have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity, the support from the community and the fact that you truly made me feel at home in new place. Thank you for your friendship and for the giving me the chance to play for the team. When friends from out of town came to visit Minnesota I would always take them to the stone arch bridge downtown, the state Capital, or the Mill City Museum. Exploring new parts of the Twin Cities became one of my passions while I was there.
After I learned of my trade to the LA Clippers, David Kahn left me a voicemail and it was great. To you, the fans, David Kahn is going to do a great job as the General Manager. He is going to tirelessly do everything in his power to return the team to the same form of that special 2004 season. And to Glen Taylor, I express my thanks for allowing me to contribute to a great team. I’m sure that you will get the team back to the high expectations that you and the community have for the team. It has been an honor to play for the team over the past number of years and to be part of your organization.
But above all, I want to thank you the fans. I wish all of you the best and I hope that I will see you down the road and perhaps at a Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers game in the future!
Since the day that we selected Ricky Rubio with the 5th pick of the draft I think that we’ve all been very excited about the possibility of him coming over this season. Yesterday I read in the newspaper that there is a chance that he still might come over and play for the Timberwolves this season. So yesterday afternoon I sat down and wrote Ricky an open letter. I’m actually happy that we selected two guards in the top ten picks. Let’s be honest, good point guards are very difficult to find in this league and we have two guards that we are very excited about. And it’s probably accurate that both can play both guard positions. I lived in Spain for two years between high school and college and I figured, a letter to Ricky Rubio can’t hurt! So, Ricky, here is a letter written to you and your family and I would love to have the chance to talk to you soon.
In other news, I spoke to David Kahn today in fact by phone and I came away thinking to myself that here is a guy who is leaving no stone unturned in the coaching search as well as the free agency market. One thing that I can appreciate is honesty and after we talked for a while he mentioned that he would love to have me in the locker room this coming year, but at the same time, given my expiring contract he said that there is a chance that I might be moved. He said that if he did move me, that he would reach out and let me know beforehand. In some ways, when I talked to him, it reminded me of talking to Mitch Kupchak, back from the Laker days in that he was direct, to the point, and very professional. The life of professional sports is uncertainty in that you can be traded, our job is to be ready when called upon. We didn’t talk much about the incoming newly drafted players but we did talk about our style of play for the coming season and he told me that we’re going to be a running team.